A cartoon that was drawn by an Australian cartoonist, Mark Knight, about Serena Williams’ reaction at the US Open on Saturday has become the subject of a trending conversation on Twitter.
Knight’s cartoon was published in Australia’s Herald Sun on Tuesday. It depicted the tennis star having a tantrum on the court at the US Open after she lost to a first-time winner, Naomi Osaka.
Condemnation of the cartoon has come from American civil rights activist, Reverend Jesse Jackson, British author JK Rowling and other social media users.
There are, however, others who believe that the cartoon was drawn in good faith and aptly captured the scene at the US Open.
According to Guardian UK, the cartoonist said, “I’m upset that people are offended, but I’m not going to take the cartoon down.”
“I can’t undraw the cartoon. I think people have just misinterpreted. Maybe there’s a different understanding of cartooning in Australia to America. It was a cartoon based on her tantrum on the day and that’s all it was.”
Bernice King, the chief executive of the King Center and daughter of Martin Luther King Jr, said the Herald Sun’s stance was “unfortunate”.
It was “without consideration for the painful historical context of such imagery and how it can support biases and racism today”, she said. “Why wouldn’t a human being care about that?”
Rev Jesse tweeted: “This despicable cartoon tried and failed to diminish the greatness & grace of @serenawilliams. Racism in any form is unacceptable. Push On @serenawilliams!
— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) September 10, 2018
This is blatantly and viciously racist.https://t.co/xC6rmoEsEe
— Sulochana Peiris (@Sulo_Peiris) September 11, 2018
This great cartoon is (of course) being called racist and sexist.
If the artist was a black female would it still be labelled that?
Cartoons make caricatures of the people/scene they are depicting.
— Samuel (@Iron14Lion) September 11, 2018
Serena Williams’s depiction in Australian cartoon leaves me a little conflicted https://t.co/tAnDVQlksd via abcnews
— SanctimoniousTweetyB (@tuttp) September 11, 2018
Why is it you caricature black people the same #racist way?
— Mushimire Olivier (@OliverMushimire) September 11, 2018
To disrespect Serena Williams, a 23 time Grand Slam Champion, in this light is truly disappointing. As an Australian, I am truly disappointed #morethananathlete
— Ben Simmons (@BenSimmons25) September 10, 2018
The cartoonist who turned Serena Williams into an angry baby doesn’t think his drawing is racist and says ‘the world has just gone crazy’ https://t.co/KsPj0pNjIz
— Pholarsnuntium (@pholarsnuntium) September 11, 2018
I have played sport all my life.NEVER NEVER NEVER has such behaviour been acceptable ! Do the people who attack the cartoon not know what damage they are doing to sport ?? Defending that woman’s cheating and appalling behaviour is undermining their sport….. Good bye tennis….
— Tony Johnston (@tonyinhanoi) September 11, 2018
This is disgraceful. @theheraldsun, if your team is still confused as to why this is not okay, please do your very overdue homework. Read a book like #ImStillHere by @austinchanning. Follow people like @RachelCargle. And most importantly, sit down and listen.
— Katie Horwitch//WANT (@katiehorwitch) September 10, 2018
If this wasn’t about race, why is the opponent painted as a white, blonde girl? When in reality she wasn’t?
— Fatima (@Buuuuugi) September 11, 2018